Jun 25, 2010 Blog
It’s never too early to start forming NBA rookie draft rankings and planning for the 2010-2011 fantasy basketball season and what better place to begin than by examining the new NBA rookie class and how they might help your fantasy team this season.
Last night’s draft had some interesting turns and implications for the fantasy basketball crowd, so let’s take a look at the fantasy values of the top 30 first round rookie draft picks:
John Wall (Washington) - No surprise that he went first to the Wizards. Probably a bit more of a surprise was a trade with the Bulls that will bring Kirk Hinrich to Washington. Gilbert Arenas, Kirk Hinrich and John Wall competing for two spots is a curious situation. The Wizards aren’t going to contend, so why stunt Wall’s growth? Maybe Arenas is gone, who knows. Wall will likely be the most fantasy relevant player out of the entire draft. Keep an eye on how much time Washington expects to give him.
Evan Turner (Philadelphia) – I’m not sure what kind of player Turner is going to be, but he was the most professional of last night’s draft. He’s definitely someone that any franchise would be proud to have representing them. He’s a Brandon Roy type player and should get time at SG, pushing everyone up a spot and possibly moving Elton Brand to Center. The pick probably pushes Spencer Hawes to the pine and makes Lou Williams a non-keeper in fantasy leagues.
Derrick Favors (New Jersey) – He’s only 18 years old and will likely split time with Yi Jianlian, which probably hurts the fantasy value of both. With Yi’s health and attitude, Favors could be a nice fantasy gamble and someone you definitely want in a keeper league.
Wesley Johnson (Minnesota) – Johnson wins the award for best dressed at the draft with his plaid pants. Not a look I could pull off, but he wore it well. Johnson was a Syracuse teammate of Jonny Flynn, so maybe they can make something happen together. Johnson is 23, five years older than Favors, so he might be expected to contribute outside shooting immediately. Might be a good source of fantasy threes and he’s a good rebounder for his position.
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) – Cousins had his purple shirt on, which was either a remarkable coincidence or a tipoff that he knew where he was going the whole time. I like Cousins and think he gets a bad rap because of his personality. He’s just a quiet kid who doesn’t show much emotion and rarely smiles. I think the media incorrectly portrays his quiet, somewhat shy personality as an attitude problem, when actually he’s just a bit introverted in contrast to your average NBA player personality. He’s a gamble and could find it hard to get playing time competing with Carl Landry and Jason Thompson. Summer league could be very important for Cousins upcoming season and he’s going to have to show a lot to be fantasy relevant to begin the season. Let’s just hope they also assign a coach whose only job is to keep him away from Samuel Dalembert’s bad attitude.
Ekpe Udoh (Golden State) – Not sure I understand this one at all. Golden State is pure offense with no defense and nobody on the team even knows how to play defense, so they decide to go out and draft a guy with no offensive game who can block a few shots. One of these things is not like the others. When you combine the GSW running game with Don Nelson’s aversion to playing rookies, unless you are Stephen Curry, Udoh may never get off the bench. Seems like a wasted pick which doesn’t mesh with the team philosophy. Udoh might get some fantasy blocks, but that is about it.
Greg Monroe (Detroit) – Detroit was happy to have Monroe fall to them at number 7. I’m not sure why Golden State passed on him at 6 since he would have been a much better fit than Udoh. Monroe should mesh well with Detroit and be fantasy relevant depending on his role. Monroe has some nice offensive skills and can pass the ball effectively. The future of Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince could also affect his fantasy value.
Al-Farouq Aminu (LA Clippers) – I couldn’t figure out if Aminu looked more like Spike Lee or Harry Carey with his oversized glasses. The Clippers see Aminu as more of a SF than PF, which is good for Aminu since LAC has Blake Griffin coming back to man the PF spot. The Clippers haven’t gotten much size and rebounding from the SF spot, so Aminu might have a shot at grabbing some decent fantasy minutes.
Gordon Hayward (Utah) – I wish they would have had a live camera on Larry Bird and the Pacers draft room when Hayward’s name was announced. Indiana wanted him badly and even had Reggie Miller texting him before the draft. Utah’s selection of Hayward may say something about the future of Andrei Kirilenko. I’ve heard that the Nets are interested in Kirilenko, so maybe Hayward is the backup plan for Kirilenko’s exit. Hayward’s fantasy value will depend on his ability to hit the outside shot. Hayward did however have the best looking ladies at his draft table, which is always a plus.
Paul George (Indiana) – George had a late surge in his draft stock but he ended up in a situation where he might get stuck behind Danny Granger. George is an excellent athlete and Indiana could try to squeeze him into the SG spot. If they do and he gets minutes he could put up some nice fantasy stats across the board. His fantasy value will become more clear once Indiana shuffles it’s roster.
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City) – New Orleans selected Aldrich and shipped him to OKC along with Mo Peterson. It’s a good thing for Aldrich, since he would have been stuck behind bigs David West and Emeka Okafor. I love this move for OKC and they are building a monster of a team. Aldrich is a tough kid who could end up getting some minutes in a weak OKC front court. He’s definitely a good selection for keeper leagues. The NO-OKC trade could hurt James Harden’s value with vet Mo Peterson taking some of his offensive duties.
Xavier Henry (Memphis) – With the selection of Henry and Greivis Vazquez, I get the feeling that Mike Conley’s future is in doubt. I’ve also seen some reports of O.J. Mayo working on his PG skills. Henry could fit nicely into the SG spot and earn some good fantasy minutes. Vazquez is a big kid and might be able to guard some of the larger SG’s. Rudy Gay may also be gone, which could allow Memphis to let Henry get some minutes at SF in a smallish lineup. Henry is a good shooter and could provide three point help for fantasy owners. Depending on the roster shuffle in Memphis, Henry could be a nice fantasy gamble.
Ed Davis (Toronto) – Selecting Davis to replace the departing Chris Bosh was the logical move by Toronto and an unexpected gift at the 13th spot. Davis is a good rebounder, which Toronto badly needs with the weak Andrea Bargnani at Center. Davis probably won’t be asked to score but he could be a huge help in the fantasy rebounding category.
Patrick Patterson (Houston) – Yao Ming is returning from a foot injury and the Rockets still have Luis Scola, Jordan Hill and Chuck Hayes, but if Scola moves on or Ming’s health fails, Patterson could get some minutes. He’s a good rebounder and shotblocker.
Larry Sanders (Milwaukee) – He’s a good big that will give the Bucks some depth. He might have been a reach at 15 and I don’t think he will have any fantasy value. I think even Sanders was surprised at the pick since he didn’t bother showing up for the draft.
Luke Babbitt (Portland) – Babbitt was selected by Minnesota but was quickly shipped to Portland along with Ryan Gomes in exchange for Martell Webster. Babbitt joins a logjam in Portland. If Webster couldn’t crack the rotation in Portland, then Babbitt doesn’t stand a chance. His only fantasy value might be a few threes.
Richard Seraphin (Washington) – Seraphin was selected by Chicago and shipped to Washington. No guarantee that Seraphin will come from oversees to play. Even if he does, he’s a project and probably stuck behind Andray Blatche. Not much fantasy value.
Eric Bledsoe (LA Clippers) – Bledsoe was selected by Oklahoma City and shipped to the Clippers for a future first round pick. Bledsoe can play PG and SG and will backup Baron Davis and Eric Gordon. Had John Wall not been the star at Kentucky, Bledsoe would have gotten more hype and been a higher lottery pick. He is a nice target for keeper league fantasy players and a great future piece for the Clippers.
Avery Bradley (Boston) – Could Bradley be the replacement for a departing Ray Allen? Although Bradley is more of a smallish PG type, he is a good jumpshooter and an excellent defender, which can also be said about Allen. If Allen departs, Bradley could be in a nice fantasy situation.
James Anderson (San Antonio) – A pure draft night steal for the Spurs. Anderson likely fell because he was hampered by an injury which caused him to miss working out for teams over the last month. He should step right in and replace Roger Mason Jr. and Keith Bogans as a shooter off the bench. Anderson is an absolute scorer for the fantasy points category.
Craig Brackins (New Orleans) – Brackins was selected by Oklahoma City and moved to New Orleans as part of the Cole Adrich deal. He will likely get stuck behind David West unless he can slide down and play some SF. I don’t see him having much fantasy value.
Elliot Williams (Portland) – He’ll be stuck behind Andre Miller, Brandon Roy and Jerryd Bayless. He’s a talented and athletic scorer but probably a year or two away from any meaningful role.
Trevor Booker (Washington) – Booker was the first senior picked in the draft. He was selected by Minnesota and sent to Washington. He might get some garbage minutes this season, maybe.
Damion James (New Jersey) – Selected by the Atlanta Hawks and traded to the Nets, James is a tough guy who can play three positions, but primarily fits at the SF spot. I’ve seen him compared to Bruce Bowen, which is death to his fantasy value. The Nets will change rapidly, so James’ true value won’t be fully known for awhile.
Dominique Jones (Dallas) – Picked by Memphis and sent to Dallas where he will be buried behind Roddy Beaubois, Jason Kidd, JJ Barea.
Quincy Pondexter (New Orleans) – Selected by Oklahoma City and traded to New Orleans as part of the Cole Aldrich deal. I actually think Pondexter has a better chance for minutes in New Orleans than Craig Brackins, who was picked 5 spots earlier. Pondexter can score and rebound and could fill some minutes in the SF spot.
Jordan Crawford (Atlanta) – The player who gained fame as the guy who dunked on LeBron was selected by New Jersey and traded to Atlanta in the Damion James deal. He’ll find difficulty getting minutes, but he could be a decent scorer off the bench, especially if Joe Johnson gets traded. With Josh Childress possibly returning to Atlanta, Crawford has more chance of getting minutes with the Hawks than Damion James did.
Greivis Vazquez (Memphis) – Vazquez was the most excited draftee in the building and he is an easy player to cheer for. He just has some undefinable quality that could make him one of those guys who blossoms late and continues to improve. He lands in Memphis where he could have a chance to backup an inconsistent Mike Conley. Keep an eye on Vazquez, he could be a sleeper.
Daniel Orton (Orlando) – A pure potential project pick by the Magic. Orton will ride the pine behind Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat. He will have the opportunity to learn from the best in Dwight Howard and Patrick Ewing and makes a nice gamble in keeper leagues if you have a spot.
Lazar Haward (Minnesota) – Selected by Washington and sent to Minnesota. He’s likely an end of the bench backup who won’t get enough minutes to be fantasy relevant.